When the White Sox scored five runs on six hits and chased Cleveland starter Trevor Bauer before the end of the first inning of a twi-night doubleheader ... that should've registered as the most enjoyable moment of the game.
But these White Sox can't have nice things. Hector Santiago gave up five runs on six hits in the top of the second -- after retiring two of the first three batters that inning -- en route to 14 unanswered Indians runs. That left Casper Wells' scoreless ninth inning as the only moment of uncompromised joy.
Wells, who pitched during his collegiate career at Towson, looked like he knew what he was doing. His fastball ranged from 89-93, and his first changeup fooled Asdrubal Cabrera into a swinging strike three. He needed an excellent running catch from Alejandro De Aza to record the final out -- and also to keep Jason Kipnis off base for the first time in seven plate appearances -- but the box score shows that he's the only White Sox pitcher to escape from this game unharmed.
Then again, given the situation, Robin Ventura had no choice but to wring anything he could out of his worst relievers after Santiago's array of high breaking balls and changeups forced him out of the game after 2⅓ innings. Brian Omogrosso gave up nine runs over 2⅓ innings himself, and Ramon Troncoso gave up five runs (four earned) while lasting one out longer. Three of Troncoso's runs scored with Matt Lindstrom on the mound, with an assist by Alexei Ramirez's 14th error of the year.
All in all, the White Sox pitching staff suffered a lot of damage they hadn't seen in a long time, including (most recent occurence in parentheses):
- 19 runs (20 runs, May 21, 2009)
- Eight doubles (Sept. 15, 2005)
- 31 baserunners (May 10, 2002)
- 230 pitches (a new high in the recorded pitch count era for a nine-inning game)
And Kipnis became the first guy to reach base six times against the Sox since Victor Martinez on April 4, 2007. Had De Aza not run down his last line drive ... that's considerably more rare. The last time that happened was April 26, 1948, as Lou Boudreau and Eddie Robinson did it in the same game!
The terrible performance by Santiago and the expected results from the exposed Os(s)os erased what was a nice day at work by the White Sox offense, which scored 10 runs for just the second time all season. Adam Dunn hit a
threetwo-run blast in the first inning, and Jeff Keppinger came through with a solo shot behind him. Gordon Beckham added an RBI double, and after Bauer loaded the bases with an HBP and a walk, Terry Francona pulled him for Matt Albers.
Albers left them loaded, and he and the Cleveland bullpen held the Sox down until the sixth, when Tyler Flowers followed an RBI single by Beckham with a three-run homer to make it 14-9. But Troncoso gave up a two-run homer to Ryan Raburn to give back half of the Sox's gain, and further offense was fruitless.
Perhaps Joe McEwing realized this when, with two outs in the ninth, he gave Dayan Viciedo a late stop sign on what should've been an RBI single to left by Keppinger. It was a soft single, Mike Aviles doesn't have a good arm, and he was off on contact -- it should've added up to an easy run. Instead, Viciedo hit the brakes close to halfway down the line, and once they threw back to third to officially start the pickle, he had no interest in continuing it.
Maybe they wanted to see Wells pitch, too.